Bio


Riitta Katila is an Associate Professor of Management Science & Engineering and W.M. Keck Foundation Faculty Scholar at Stanford University. She is also on the faculty of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. Her research is in the intersection of technology strategy and organizational learning. She is an expert on innovation, competitive dynamics, and organic and inter-organizational growth strategies.

Prof. Katila's research on product development and technology strategy has received several international awards including the Stephan M. Schrader Award for Outstanding Research in Technology and Innovation Management, the Thought Leader Award in Entrepreneurship, the Best Symposium Award by the Organization and Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management, and the Best Dissertation Award from The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. She has been selected as an Alfred P. Sloan Industry Studies Fellow and the Top Strategy Scholar under 40 by the Strategic Management Society. In 2010 she was elected to the 5-year Leadership Track of the Technology and Innovation Management Division of the Academy of Management and she is currently the Chair of the Division.

Prof. Katila's work has appeared in the Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Research Policy and other outlets. In her most recent work, supported by the National Science Foundation, she examines how firms create new products successfully. Focusing on the robotics industry, she investigates how different search approaches, such as the exploitation of existing knowledge and the exploration for new knowledge, influence the kinds of new products that technology-intensive firms introduce. She has served on the editorial boards of Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, Strategic Organization, and the Strategic Management Journal. Prior to academia, her work experience includes telecommunications operations and strategy and management consulting.

Please see http://engineering.stanford.edu/profile/rkatila/publications for access to Prof. Katila's publications.

Professor Katila teaches four courses: MS&E 175 Innovation Creativity and Change, MS&E 270 Strategy in Technology-Based Companies, MS&E 371 Doctoral course on Innovation and Strategic Change, and MS&E 108 Senior Project. She is the recipient of the Eugene L. Grant Faculty Teaching Award at Stanford.

Academic Appointments


  • Associate Professor, Management Science and Engineering
  • Member, Bio-X

Honors & Awards


  • President, Technology and Innovation Management Division, Academy of Management (2013-2014)
  • Industry Studies Fellow, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • Thought Leader Award, Entrepreneurship Division, Academy of Management
  • Eugene L. Grant Faculty Teaching Award, Stanford University
  • Top Young Strategy Scholar, "Emerging Scholar of the Year", Strategic Management Society
  • Best Doctoral Dissertation, Technology and Innovation Management Division, Academy of Management
  • Best Doctoral Dissertation, Technology Management Section, INFORMS
  • Leadership Track, Technology and Innovation Management Division, Academy of Management
  • Best Symposium Award, Organization & Management Theory Division, Academy of Management
  • W.M. Keck Foundation Faculty Scholar, Stanford University
  • Best Dissertation Finalist, Business Policy and Strategy Free Press Award, Academy of Management
  • Best Student Paper, Technology and Innovation Management Division, Academy of Management

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


The question that drives Prof. Katila's research is how technology-based firms with significant resources can stay innovative. Her work lies at the intersection of the fields of technology, innovation, and strategy and focuses on strategies that enable organizations to discover, develop and commercialize technologies. She combines theory with longitudinal large-sample data (e.g., robotics, biomedical, multi-industry datasets), background fieldwork, and state-of-the-art quantitative methods. The ultimate objective is to understand what makes technology-based firms successful.

To answer this question, Prof. Katila conducts two interrelated streams of research. She studies (1) strategies that help firms leverage their existing resources (leverage stream), and (2) strategies through which firms can acquire new resources (acquisition stream) to create innovation. Her early contributions were firm centric while recent contributions focus on innovation in the context of competitive interaction.

Professor Katila's work has appeared in the Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Research Policy and other outlets. In her most recent work, supported by the National Science Foundation, Katila examines how firms create new products successfully. Focusing on the robotics and medical device industries, she investigates how different search approaches, such as the exploitation of existing knowledge and the exploration for new knowledge, influence the kinds of new products that technology-intensive firms introduce. Professor Katila has served on the editorial boards of several leading journals including Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, Strategic Organization, and the Strategic Management Journal.

2013-14 Courses


Postdoctoral Advisees


Journal Articles


  • Unpacking Social Defenses: A Resource Dependence Lens on Technology Ventures, Venture Capital, and Corporate Relationships ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT JOURNAL Hallen, B., Katila, R., Rosenberger, J. 2014
  • TOP MANAGEMENT ATTENTION TO INNOVATION: THE ROLE OF SEARCH SELECTION AND INTENSITY IN NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTIONS ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT JOURNAL Li, Q., Maggitti, P. G., Smith, K. G., Tesluk, P. E., Katila, R. 2013; 56 (3): 893-916
  • The complex search process of invention RESEARCH POLICY Maggitti, P. G., Smith, K. G., Katila, R. 2013; 42 (1): 90-100
  • All the right moves: How entrepreneurial firms compete effectively STRATEGIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP JOURNAL Katila, R., Chen, E. L., Piezunka, H. 2012; 6 (2): 116-132

    View details for DOI 10.1002/sej.1130

    View details for Web of Science ID 000304905900003

  • LIFE IN THE FAST LANE: ORIGINS OF COMPETITIVE INTERACTION IN NEW VS. ESTABLISHED MARKETS STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT JOURNAL Chen, E. L., Katila, R., McDonald, R., Eisenhardt, K. M. 2010; 31 (13): 1527-1547

    View details for DOI 10.1002/smj.894

    View details for Web of Science ID 000284014000008

  • Effects of Search Timing on Innovation: The Value of Not Being in Sync with Rivals ADMINISTRATIVE SCIENCE QUARTERLY Katila, R., Chen, E. L. 2008; 53 (4): 593-625
  • Swimming with sharks: Technology ventures, defense mechanisms and corporate relationships ADMINISTRATIVE SCIENCE QUARTERLY Katila, R., Rosenberger, J. D., Eisenhardt, K. M. 2008; 53 (2): 295-332
  • Technology perspective on network resources. ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT REVIEW Katila, R. 2008; 33: 550-553
  • When does lack of resources make new firms innovative? ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT JOURNAL Katila, R., Shane, S. 2005; 48 (5): 814-829
  • Where do resources come from? The role of idiosyncratic situations STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT JOURNAL Ahuja, G., KATILA, R. 2004; 25 (8-9): 887-907

    View details for DOI 10.1002/smj.401

    View details for Web of Science ID 000223115800009

  • Exploiting technological opportunities: the timing of collaborations RESEARCH POLICY KATILA, R., Mang, P. Y. 2003; 32 (2): 317-332
  • R&D collaboration – Timing is of the essence WIRTSCHAFTSPOLITISCHE BLATTER Katila, R., Mang, P., Davis, J. 2003; 3: 348-352
  • Something old, something new: A longitudinal study of search behavior and new product introduction ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT JOURNAL KATILA, R., Ahuja, G. 2002; 45 (6): 1183-1194
  • New product search overtime: Past ideas in their prime? ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT JOURNAL Katila, R. 2002; 45 (5): 995-1010
  • Technological acquisitions and the innovation performance of acquiring firms: A longitudinal study. STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT JOURNAL Ahuja, G., Katila, R. 2001; 22: 197-220
  • Measuring innovation performance. International Journal of Business Performance Measurement Katila, R. 2000; 2: 180-193
  • Distinguishing the roles of the external environment in organizational learning Southwest Academy of Management Katila, R. 1998: 206-210

Books and Book Chapters


  • “Distant Search” “Local Search” Palgrave Encyclopedia of Strategic Management Katila, R., Thatchenkery, S. 2014
  • Design Thinking Research – Understanding Innovation User-Centered Innovation for the Design and Development of Complex Products and Systems. Shluzas, L., Steinert, M., Katila, R. edited by Plattner et al., H. 2012: 135-149
  • Rival Interpretations of Balancing Exploration and Exploitation: Simultaneous or Sequential? Blackwell Handbook on Technology and Innovation Management Chen, E., Katila, R. 2008
  • Business Performance Measurement – Theory and Practice Measuring innovation performance. Katila, R. edited by Neely, A. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 2007: 304-317
  • Business Performance Measurement – Theory and Practice Using patent data to measure innovation performance. Katila, R. edited by Neely, A. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.. 2001: 304-312
  • Technology strategies for growth and innovation: A study of biotechnology ventures. Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research Katila, R. Waltham, MA: Babson College. 1997

Conference Proceedings


  • Comparing novice and expert user inputs in early stage product design. Proceedings of the 5th International Congress of International Association of Societies of Design Research (IASDR), Tokyo, Japan Shluzas, L., Sadler, J., Currano, R., Sanks, T., Steinert, M., Katila, R. 2013
  • Sequences of competitive moves and effects on firm performance. ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT BEST PAPER PROCEEDINGS Thatchenkery, S., Katila, R., Chen, E. 2012
  • Never too early, never too late: Effects of search timing on product innovation. ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT BEST PAPER PROCEEDINGS Katila, R., Chen, E. 2006
  • Interorganizational development activities: The likelihood and timing of contracts. ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT BEST PAPER PROCEEDINGS Katila, R., Mang, P. 1999
  • Using patent data to measure innovation performance. Proceedings of the International Conference on Performance Measurement Katila, R. 1998
  • Distinguishing the roles of the external environment in organizational learning Southwest Academy of Management Katila, R. 1998
  • Economic and sociological explanations in high technology environments – Issues for science and technology policy. International Association for Business and Society Katila, R. 1996